Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage

Girls in group

What is Female Genital Mutilation?

Female Genital Mutilation - also called FGM, female circumcision, cutting or sunna - is when a girl's external genitals (private parts) are cut away. This is abuse, and it is illegal in the UK. If you or someone you know is worried about FGM, you can talk to Childline on 0800 1111 or another trusted adult like a teacher or school nurse.

You might be feeling pressured to have FGM, especially if other people in your family have had it done. This may make you feel scared or alone but there are people who can help. Your body is your own, not anybody else's.

What you can do if you are worried about yourself or someone else?

  • Talk to a trusted adult such as a teacher or your GP about your concerns. 
  • If you think you’re in immediate danger of being cut or being taken abroad for this to happen, call the police on 999. The police are there to keep you safe.

  • Call Childline on 0800 1111 or the FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550, both are free and confidential, or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk for advice, support or to report a concern (NSPCC). You don’t have to worry alone. 

  • Call the local Gaia Centre on 0207 733 8724 or email lambethvawg@refuge.org.uk for help, this is a Lambeth service that supports girls and women who experience gender-based violence such as FGM

  • Carry an 'FGM passport' with you, especially when you go abroad. It is a Statement opposing FGM available in several languages. You can show it to your family, it makes it clear that FGM is a serious criminal offence in UK and can have serious health and emotional consequences

  • Call Children’s Social Care on 0207 926 5555 or email helpandprotection@lambeth.gov.uk 

  • Go to www.fco.gov.uk/fgm for more information and see links below


What is Forced Marriage?

You have the right to choose who you marry, when you marry or if you marry at all.

Forced marriage is when you face physical pressure to marry (eg threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (eg if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).

Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales. This includes:

  • taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place)
  • marrying someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they’re pressured to or not)

Forcing someone to marry can result in a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

If you believe you are at risk of force marriage you can call the Forced Marriage Unit on 0207 008 0151 which is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office unit that provides advice and support.

This link explains what you need to know about forced marriage and how to get help and support. You can also have a look at the difference between arranged marriages and forced marriages


Get more information and advice

Childline - FGM 

Childline - Forced Marriage


Daughters of Eve